Aug 18 2016

Chromebase's Custom Settings Boost Security and Convenience

Acer's Chromebase CA24I-CT computers make a sound tech choice for increased security.

For some classrooms, installing a series of Acer Chromebase CA24I-CT computers instead of Windows machines could be a smart move. In addition to efficiencies like a 4- to 6-second boot time, the Chrome OS requires little support. It keeps itself up to date with the latest security patches and OS upgrades. When a patch becomes available, the CA24I-CT downloads and applies it automatically in the background, without needing user or IT support.

IT administrators can use the Chrome Management Console to set up each Chromebase CA24I-CT with the exact Google apps that a classroom will require. Administrators can configure the console to prevent new apps from being installed without permission, thereby keeping rogue, potentially malicious software off the system and network. It’s relatively easy to whitelist new applications if professors need to add something, but this extra layer of security ensures that IT staff know exactly what is running on the CA24I-CTs in their fleet. What’s more, the Management Console is free.

We noted that three high-speed USB 3.0 ports come installed with the Chromebase CA24I-CT. In certain circumstances, however, those ports could become a liability. Although users can disable the ports through the console, that would negate a great feature. A better option we tested was to authorize individual peripherals through the management interface, much like apps. So a user could authorize a 3D printer within one classroom while clearing a portable hard drive for another. Only authorized peripherals can connect to the Chromebase CA24I-CT, but administrators can grant permission after the rules have been set, much as they can with new apps.

Another useful feature, albeit more for convenience than security, is that all of a user’s Android-based apps are available through the Chromebase CA24I-CT once the user has signed in to a Gmail account. This means that colleges could create login profiles for different departments. When geography professors log in to the classroom system, the set of authorized apps and tools that they need will automatically be available. An English professor or a robotics teacher might have a totally different set of apps, but they could share the same classroom and the same Chromebase CA24I-CT, which would reconfigure to their class and individual needs each time.

To learn more about Acer Chromebase CA24I-CT, read our review.